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Digital Seminar

Deb Dana’s Putting Polyvagal Theory into Practice: Nervous System-Based Exercises for Anxiety, Depression, Trauma and More!

Peggy Hough, MA, LCPC, CADC
6 Hours 24 Minutes
Audio and Video
Apr 13, 2023
Product Code:
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Digital Seminar
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At the heart of our client’s symptoms – from anxiety and depression to traumatic stress and more – is a dysregulated nervous system.

Polyvagal Theory presents a clear roadmap of our nervous system that can guide both therapists and clients to the source of their most troubling symptoms.

And Polyvagal-informed treatments provide interventions that not only empower clients to understand how their nervous system shapes their experiences, but also offers powerful methods to re-shape those experiences in therapy.

This training will be led by Peggy Hough, MA, LCPC, CACD on behalf of Deb Dana, LCSW. Peggy is one of a select group of senior trainers who are part of Deb Dana’s training team for the 6-month clinical training course: Foundations of Polyvagal-Informed Practice.

This one-day training incorporates core elements from Deb’s groundbreaking framework, unique methodology, and best-selling book Polyvagal Exercises for Safety & Connection. You will learn how to effectively utilize Deb’s original tools and techniques in your client sessions. All workshop content and material copyright by Deb Dana LCSW & Rhythm of Regulation™, are incorporated in this PESI training with permission from Deb Dana. Attend and learn step-by-step to:

  • Track a client’s experience through their autonomic nervous system and uncover the specific places that keep them stuck
  • Interrupt and re-shape habitual autonomic patterns that cause their emotional suffering, maladaptive thoughts, and un-helpful or impulsive behaviors
  • Introduce Polyvagal practices to help clients find autonomic regulation and psychological safety
  • Utilize BASIC skills through seeing demos and experiencing the practices
  • BONUS: 90 days of unlimited on-demand replays of your training

With the practical guidance you’ll gain from this workshop, it’s now possible to get beneath symptoms and show clients how to safely listen to the “story” of their autonomic nervous system and to re-shape their experience toward safety and connection.

Understanding the human nervous system through a Polyvagal lens has been a game-changer for therapists across modalities. There is no better way to learn it than through experiencing it yourself in this highly practical, intervention-rich training.

Purchase today!


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This program is worth 6.5 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Peggy Hough, MA, LCPC, CADC's Profile

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Evanston Psychological Support Services

Peggy Hough, MA, LCPC, CACD, is a licensed clinical professional counselor, trained in Somatic Experiencing and leading expert in the clinical application of Polyvagal Theory. She specializes in the treatment of addictive disorders and trauma. Peggy has worked and studied with Pia Melody and is a certified PIT Therapist (Post-Induction Therapy). She completed the three-year Somatic Experiencing Professional Training Program based on Peter Levine’s groundbreaking research on the treatment of trauma. She is a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master’s Level Clinician. Peggy’s most recent passion is her work with Polyvagal Theory. After studying the theory based on Stephen Porge’s work and having the opportunity to assist Deb Dana in teaching the theory, Peggy now teaches the foundations of the theory to students around the world under the supervision of Deb Dana.

Peggy works with adolescents and adults in individual, group, couples, and family therapy. She has been in private practice for over 30 years and has extensive clinical expertise with diverse populations and has worked with multidisciplinary staffs. Peggy’s clinical work history includes working in treatment and hospital settings as well as private practice. She conducts clinical trainings on a variety of subjects and provides clinical supervision.

Drawing from her own recovery, education, spiritual journey, and the wisdom of her many beloved mentors, Peggy works primarily from a family systems orientation and is Polyvagal guided. Her goal has consistently been to help individuals identify and build on their own strengths to achieve their personal goals.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Peggy Hough maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Peggy Hough has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  1. Propose language to successfully introduce nervous system-based interventions with clients.
  2. Evaluate the five phases of the BASIC approach to polyvagal-informed treatments.
  3. Apply one exercise from each phase of the BASIC approach.
  4. Assess timing of moving between phases with clients.
  5. Construct practices between sessions to successfully shape new autonomic patterns.
  6. Utilize personal progress trackers to assess client progress.


How Polyvagal Theory Provides a Foundation for Lasting Therapeutic Change
  • The BASIC approach to Polyvagalinformed treatment
  • Trauma healing from a Polyvagal theory perspective
  • Learning to stretch, but not stress, a client’s nervous system
  • Co-regulation: An imperative in psychotherapy
Introducing Nervous System-Based Interventions to Clients
  • The three-part hierarchy of the autonomic response
  • Neuroception: our internal surveillance system
  • How early experiences and trauma shape our nervous system
Befriending Practices: Building Awareness & A Map of the Nervous System
  • Exploring Hierarchies
  • Identifying landmark moments in our nervous system
  • Recognizing ventral vagal “anchors”
  • Utilizing the social engagement scale
  • Creating a neuroception notebook
Attending Practices: Creating Stability in the Nervous System
  • Building attention through naming autonomic states
  • Daily tracking practices
  • Attending over time
  • Savoring practices
Shaping Practices: Creating New Patterns & Pathways in the Nervous System
  • Moving out of dorsal vagal collapse and sympathetic activation
  • Neural exercises for creating resilience and psychological flexibility
  • The power of utilizing autonomic imagery
Integration Practices: Writing a New Story in the Nervous System
  • Establishing new autonomic patterns and behaviors in life
  • Moving from intention to action
  • Learning to engage the vagal brake
Connection Practices: Finding Safety in Connection Through the Nervous System
  • Exercising and strengthening the social engagement system
  • Learning to feel safety in connection
  • The reciprocity equation
  • Creating a personal connection plan
Using Personal Progress Trackers That Can Improve Outcomes
  • Tracking the flow of a Polyvagal-guided session
  • Polyvagal-guided assessment and treatment planning

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Physicians
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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